Welcome back to Yes Whale! Today I’m talking all things Classics, and what I’ll be reading this month.

Though I find them pretty intimidating, I’d really like to make more of an attempt at reading, and enjoying, classics. That is why, when Lucy (of Queen of Contemporary) introduced #CLASSICSATHON, I immediately wanted to get involved – not only to motivate myself, but to get a head-start on my university reading list, as there are quite a few classics on there.

So, I thought I’d let you all in on my #CLASSICSATHON reading list, in case you’re in need of inspiration or (like me) are a little nosey.

SIDE NOTE: I will not make it through all of these (some of them are pretty hefty), but they will all be by my bed throughout the month, and I’ll see how many I can get through. The beauty of #CLASSICSATHON is that there is no set challenge – you can read one classic, or ten, in whatever language and whatever form (novel, poetry, play) that you’d like.

You can find Lucy’s video here, if you want to know more!



Reading Jude the Obscure caused me to fall madly in love with Hardy’s writing style, despite it being RIDICULOUSLY depressing. The moment that I finished, I knew I had to add Tess to my TBR. I am a little way through, and am already obsessed – I’m pretty sure it is going to become a fast favourite. I need to know more about Alec – he sounds so shady.



I know very little of these two, but both are on a reading list for my core module next term (Modern Love: Victorian Poetry and Prose, if you’re interested). Let me know if you’ve read either of these, and what I should expect.



I cannot tell you how much I adored reading Great Expectations – I cannot wait to reread it, and look at it in depth for the same course. It is full of the most complex characters, and has a plot that you can completely lose yourself in. Plus, there are some wonderful adaptions out there, if you’re a sucker for an adaption of a classic novel (I HIGHLY recommend the Emma Thompson adaption of Sense and Sensibility if you are (I mention it in my top ten reads of 2018 if you want to know more)).



Another course text, but one that I have been meaning to read for a very long time. I’m almost certain that I’m going to adore this novel, even if it does take me a little while to get into – hopefully my confidence will grow as the month progresses and I won’t find it too difficult when I start.



I won’t be disappointed if I don’t make it to this one, but I would really like to read more Hardy. It’s definitely something I want to work on when I leave university.



Cat on a Hot Tin Roof has been on my TBR since obsessing over A Streetcar Named Desire in my last year of school. Williams writes utterly compelling characters that you cannot help but become obsessed with. I am hoping this will be a brief read – and the wonderful thing about a play, is that there is always a performance to watch afterwards. I like to see if the characters play out on stage/film as they do in my head. Vivien Leigh, for example, is intoxicating as Blanche, and is just as I imagined. If you have read A Streetcar Named Desire but haven’t watched Vivien Leigh as Blanche, it’s a must see.



Another I have wanted to read for a while, and that I am pretty sure I will love – particularly after reading Sense and Sensibility (it might be my favourite classic). I partly want to revisit Austen’s spectacular style, but I also want to be involved in the Colin Firth as Darcy in a wet shirt nonsense (even if I am 23 years late to the party (though I feel I can be excused as I was minus two when the series was aired)).

And that is my #CLASSICSATHON list! Very ambitious, I know, but I’m not putting any pressure on myself to read them all. If I finish two or three, I’ll be pretty happy.

Are you taking part? If so, let me know what’s on your list in the comments! Are there any we have in common?

I’m going to be documenting my journey on Instagram (@emycatwords) and Twitter (@_emycatmuir) – feel free to follow along.

As always, thank you for reading!



  1. August 2, 2018 / 8:03 pm

    Good luck with this! I wish I had the willpower to do it!

    • Emily
      August 3, 2018 / 9:34 am

      Thank you! The lovely thing about this is that you can read as little or as much as you like! Anything from a poem, to a 1000 page novel. 😊

  2. August 2, 2018 / 8:15 pm

    I hadn’t heard of the Classicsathon until I saw this post so I’m really intrigued now! I’ve always wanted to read more classics but I can never get into them I think it’s the language they use more than anything that puts me off I just never seem to be able to get lost in the story although I have so many on my TBR! I hope you manage to get through as many as possible hun, good luck!!

    Jess //

    • Emily
      August 2, 2018 / 8:51 pm

      I am exactly the same! I sometimes find myself having to read the same paragraph over and over again, and it makes the whole experience far less enjoyable. But whenever I manage to push through, I find a lot of classics so lovely to read. Would definitely recommend Sense and Sensibility if you’d like to read more classics – it’s a really easy read, and the language isn’t too hard to penetrate. Thank you so much!

  3. Charlene McElhinney
    August 2, 2018 / 8:17 pm

    Pride and Prejudice and Great Expectations are 2 books on my TBR list and bookshelf that I just haven’t got around to reading yet. I definitely want to give them a read now after this post! And add more classics on to my to be read list!

    Charlene McElhinney

    • Emily
      August 2, 2018 / 8:53 pm

      Great Expectations is incredible! It isn’t the easiest of reads at times, but it’s so worth it. Hope you enjoy whatever classics you choose to read! 😊

  4. August 2, 2018 / 8:21 pm

    I read so many of these great books at a level English lit. Didn’t love Tess but loved things like romeo and Juliet!

    • Emily
      August 3, 2018 / 9:35 am

      I haven’t read Romeo and Juliet but I LOVE the 90s adaption – it’s a beautiful story. I’m a sucker for doomed romance.

  5. August 2, 2018 / 8:29 pm

    I find most classics intimidating too, so I tend to not read them! I remember trying to read Pride and Prejudice a long time ago but I just couldn’t bring myself to finish it haha! Hope you reach your #classicsathon goal 🙂

    • Emily
      August 2, 2018 / 8:55 pm

      I’ve been the same with a lot of classics I’ve tried to read! Thank you! 😊

  6. August 2, 2018 / 8:41 pm

    You’re brave! I’m not sure I’ve read any of thise books since school – let us know how you get on, and if any of them surprise you.

    • Emily
      August 2, 2018 / 9:37 pm

      I definitely will! I’m thinking of doing post updates as I read each book! Considering I need some of them for university, it might actually be really useful to look back at posts and order my thoughts. 😊

  7. August 2, 2018 / 10:09 pm

    Many of these are on my TBR list. Please let us know what you think of them.

    • Emily
      August 2, 2018 / 10:17 pm

      I’ll keep you all updated!

  8. August 3, 2018 / 5:41 am

    I think it’s really cool that you’re doing the classicathon! I find it a bit challenging to read classics because the language change a bit over time – which is why I find it super respectful for those who read through them. It’s great that you have a bunch lined up – oh man, Pride and Prejudice brings me back to my high school days!

    Nancy ♥

    • Emily
      August 3, 2018 / 8:45 am

      I find it difficult for exactly the same reason! That’s why I like the idea of Classicsathon, because it really motivates me to try and push past that and enjoy what I’m reading! Ha, that’s a popular comment. Must be a popular high school text. 😂

  9. August 3, 2018 / 2:04 pm

    Oh I saw Lucy talk about Classicathon over on her instagram and thought it was such a good idea! Classics can definitely seem a bit intimidating, but I read Pride and Prejudice last month and really enjoyed it. Jane Eyre is also one of my favourite books so I hope you enjoy it! Good luck on finishing the list! x

    Evie x |

    • Emily
      August 3, 2018 / 2:40 pm

      It is such a lovely idea! I’m really excited to read Jane Eyre! And really hoping I make it to Pride and Prejudice. Thank you, Evie! 💛

  10. August 3, 2018 / 4:48 pm

    i read tess of the d’urbervilles for my english lit a level and i keep wanting to re-read it. you won’t be disappointed!

    jess |

    • Emily
      August 3, 2018 / 7:01 pm

      That makes me so excited! I’m loving it so far! 😊

  11. August 3, 2018 / 9:13 pm

    I love Tess, Jane Eyre and Pride & Prejudice. I’m afraid I don’t like Dickens though – at all! I studied his works extensively during my English Lit degree, and we just never got on well together!!

    • Emily
      August 5, 2018 / 10:59 am

      I can see why he wouldn’t appeal to a lot of people! One of my friends can’t stand how descriptive his language is, and I completely get that. I think I’m just a sucker for adjectives. 😂 Falling in love with Tess at the moment! So excited to read the others.

  12. August 3, 2018 / 11:13 pm

    I’ve not read many classics and I don’t tend to have much motivation to read any, but I do want to broaden my horizons a bit. Is there anything you could suggest starting with to get into reading classics a bit more? x

    • Emily
      August 5, 2018 / 11:00 am

      Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility! The language, at times, can be difficult, but I think that’s the case with all classics. But the actual plot reads like a YA novel about two sisters and their misadventures in love. 😊

  13. August 4, 2018 / 8:32 am

    What a fantastic list! You will absolutely love Jane Eyre, and I think classics are actually easier to read when you’re studying and analysing them. It’s hard work, but I can highly recommend Milton’s Paradise Lost, it’s absolutely amazing 😊

    • Emily
      August 5, 2018 / 11:03 am

      I’ve read quite a bit of Paradise Lost for different classes! I LOVED the section in the garden of Eden, but I did find other bits quite difficult. I’d definitely like to complete it one day. 😊

  14. August 4, 2018 / 9:26 am

    Of all of these I’ve only read Pride and Prejudice, which I liked but didn’t love. Northanger Abbey clicked with me a lot more.

    Great list!

    • Emily
      August 5, 2018 / 11:04 am

      I actually own Northanger Abbey! I will make sure to add it to my list. Lots of my friends absolutely love it too. 😊

  15. August 5, 2018 / 5:20 am

    Great Expectations and Pride & Prejudice are incredible, the latter is certainly one of my all-time favourites!!! Jane Eyre is one that I have had in my TBR for ages now, and this post was a reminder to do so!! Also Elizabeth Barrett Browning is amazing, I had to write a paper on one of her poems last year, and I truly enjoyed analysing it. Can’t wait to see how you get on with these classics!!

    • Emily
      August 5, 2018 / 11:06 am

      Thank you for the comment about Browning! I have no idea what to expect, and Aurora Leigh is pretty hefty, so I feel a little bit daunted. Less so now after this comment. 😊

  16. August 5, 2018 / 1:24 pm

    Ahh this one sounds fun! Classics are pretty intimidating for me too, but I’d love to join. You have an awesome TBR, good luck! Also, I probably watch Colin Firth’s P&P since I haven’t see what the fuss about- I love Matthew Macfayden’s Mr. Darcy though!

    • Emily
      August 5, 2018 / 5:56 pm

      Thank you so much! I love an adaption, so I’ll make sure to check that one out too when I finish! 😊

  17. August 6, 2018 / 1:19 pm

    I love the idea of this – I may just have to join in too! I have a hefty a level English literature reading list to complete this summer and it’s choc a bloc with classics. I’m currently reading The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde & I’m actually really enjoying it; I would definitely recommend adding it to your TBR for the month. It’s not too tricky to read or super dense language wise, as some classics tend to be. Pride and Prejudice is my favourite novel of all time, I can’t wait to hear what you think of it when you finally read it! I also want to read the mill on the floss this month, along with othello and wuthering heights, and a few more which I’ve forgotten! Great post!💛

    Soph |

    • Emily
      August 6, 2018 / 1:22 pm

      Join in! I love the complete lack of pressure there is – I can participate whether I finish one classic, or four. I have that on my bookshelf, so will definitely add it to my TBR! Thanks you for the recommendation. I cannot wait to read Pride and Prejudice – I’ve heard almost consistently wonderful things, and it just sounds like the kind of book I’ll absolutely adore. Thank you so much for such a lovely comment, and good luck with your reading list! 😊

  18. August 6, 2018 / 4:57 pm

    I don’t read a lot of classics outside of classwork, but I have read and loved both Jane Eyre and Pride and Prejudice. In fact, P&P was the first classic that I managed to read on my own (and then I had to read it again for a class, but I did not mind at all!). I love how Jane Austen writes about women for women in a time when girls were all but ignored. Yes, it is a love story, but they were ground-breaking at the time. Plus, like you said, DARCY.

    Anyway, I also really like A Tale of Two Cities and Frankenstein as far as classics go. Frankenstein is fairly short and definitely worth a read (another great, inventive female author). ATOTC is longer and harder to get through, but definitely worth it in the end.

    Good luck with the Classicsathon challenge! I cannot wait to see your updates on these books!

    • Emily
      August 6, 2018 / 6:08 pm

      That’s such a beautiful description of Austen! That is exactly how I felt when reading Sense and Sensibility! I’ve actually read Frankenstein, and loved it. It’s one of my favourite classics! Such an easy read with such an interesting story. Thank you so much! And thank you for leaving such a thoughtful comment. 📚

  19. August 10, 2018 / 8:51 pm

    Hardy’s one of my all time favourite authors, and Tess of the D’Ubervilles is incredible! I studied this and Jane Eyre at uni and absolutely adored both of them. I hope your readathon is going well

    Steph –

    • Emily
      August 12, 2018 / 9:26 am

      I’m loving Tess! Still struggling to adapt to the language (but I appreciate that it’s beautiful), so it’s a bit of slow read, but I’m definitely enjoying it. ☺️

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *